I believe that society through its silent deception, lulls the empathy that we acquire into a permanent slumber. That inclination, that inconceivable urge we have to root ourselves within another’s fear and become the sturdy hand offering a lit passage disperses. Empathy, the one thing that can strikingly determine our identity as human, becomes engulfed within the raging fires society bears down upon humanity. Society is what the majority conceives as the ultimate truth, if one is to object, society pushes you to its recesses. You will be perceived as a troubled castaway is what we all have predetermined. That voice capable of haunting millions, those eyes witnesses of terrors and distress, those ears constantly listening to shattered dreams and aching souls screeching, those thoughts capable of reaching and altering ones perception, becomes muzzled. Hush, we do not need such thoughts here. Society daunts us, buries us beneath its façade of reality, we lose sight of its protruding flaws. That empathy, that glimmer of consideration becomes as quickly vanquished as did it surge forwards. Empathy still lurks, but all too quickly is transferred into sympathy. You now pity, you ache, but not with such fervor. Cruelty becomes a nonchalant occurrence; individuals harassed consequently are forced to shed their dignity, humanity creates the ultimate terror. Turn a blind eye. For you surely do not want to fall victimized under society’s spiteful glare.
The consistent lashes that cause emotional and physical anguish to others are emblazoned on my very person. Yet these pulls that society discreetly casts conforms me into its depths. I have an impulse, the fiercest urge to help, and my eyes burn with tears that I forbid to descend. I look helplessly. I become feeble. The gateway towards using understanding and compassion to cease suffrage, I knowingly close. I am afraid to be that change, that person that associates with oddities we have labeled within the school. But I know these people are not the slightest peculiar. But so special and distinctive one cannot even fathom. God, that look in their eyes, that confusion and frustration of not fitting in. Their pain and turmoil is challenging to conceal. I feel it, yet pretend not to. An emotional war tears me apart. Help. I need to help. But no. I am sitting there. Still sitting here. A false smile. A silent observer.
There was this project in Grade nine students had to partake in. My friend was not here, but we all needed a partner. This one guy was looking around, wandering aimlessly, head down cast, hoping. I came to him. His gaze beheld relief, happy to have found someone. Weakness overcame me. I could feel my classmate’s scorching stares. “She’d stoop this low?” This silent judgment seeped into me yet they were all too busy studying the task given to be attentive. Society causes irrational fears when no one cares to notice. You conjure false accusations. I told him then. My friend was not here, yet I was going to be her partner. I was conflicted, screaming on the inside. His eyes became dull. It was as if he already knew, but was hoping I’d stay. What I felt in that moment haunts me. I conjured pitiful excuses for myself. My actions plagued me. Maybe that’s why when I walk down the halls and say hello his smile never reaches those soulful eyes. He is quick to leave but always does politely. I do not deserve even the shred of a response, it haunts me. I felt inner mayhem and loathed myself. The shame and remorse consumed me. It gradually started becoming less blatant, yet it was a candle blazing that no matter how desperately I tried, would not blow out. A flickering flame. A depressing reminder. We must get over our own fear and weakness of defying the social norms of society, in order to take that surging step forward subsequently triggering compassion. Empathy is one of the saddest fatalities ever committed, our prime reason for devastation, if we do not act upon in it. What virtue is it to sense this emotion and keep it sealed so tight that we are nothing but hollow? Release it, even if society hisses at us to never dare.
That day, when it was his turn to present the project, he was independent and jubilant. I felt tears of happiness, though I had no right. His presentation was fun and quirky. The teacher laughed, the class remained silent. I couldn’t contain myself then, a smile surged forward. I was incredibly ecstatic that he was doing well. In that moment, I looked through the perception society imposes, looked past the clouds that had blown within the fronts of my vision, I rose from the fog, and I realized how wondrous we all are, how special. How much awe we are capable of accomplishing, how many tortured lives we are capable of saving, but society relentlessly seeks to imprison us.
Empathy, I realize I have it, yet societies mental chains refrains this emotion to bring forth revolution. In that moment I knew what I had done was pathetic, I knew how deserted he’d feel, how deceived. I hastily said the words, I tried to console him afterwards, how I could help him if need be. But my words had reached their source. I had instigated the impairment; the comfort I brought forth was adding salt to the wound. Chaotic drums beating attuned to the daunting symphony of anguish constricted my mind. I ignored these feelings. Struggling to subdue them, I recalled I was collaborating with whom I wanted. Right? We are not friends anymore. I fought for the wrong person.
We put trust in each other. To help each other through suffering, yet instead we cause casual cruelty that becomes tormenting. I hope one day when I converse with him he perceives me in a different regard. For now all I can do is learn from this. Society urges you to make the wrong decision, one that ruins your conscience. It causes you to disregard your opinion and thoughts upon what is right; this invisible force burns holes within empathy. It pollutes your soul and you breathe in ragged gasps, yet it slyly convinces you that all is well. You fail your fellow human.
Look around. Towards whom will you lose your status to? What status? I ask myself over and over again, “What status do you have?” You understand that frustrating agony that person is feeling, you recognize because it’s a blade that slashes you as well. You could make it halt. But there’s society urging you to be normal. You leave that person gasping, the terror of your actions consume you. That person. They have no words. They knew, and you knew. No words. You shamefully follow society, relief is instantaneous. Society harnesses that guilt and banishes it until it thinks you have rid it from your thoughts. Yet you are human. You see that individuals face. Their eyes. Those eyes. They seemed familiar. Who is it that you have just disregarded?
This I believe.
Picture Reference: Fifighter.com,. ‘Helping Others: It’S NOT All About Me!’. N.p., 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.